Beautiful Delapré nears completion

Published: Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Northampton Borough Council’s Cabinet has been asked to agree further funding for Delapré Abbey, to cover increased costs and additional requirements.

At their meeting next Wednesday (8 February), cabinet members will need to make several decisions which are critical to completion of the project.

Once open later this year, Delapré Abbey will be a major tourist attraction for the town, as well as offering high-end wedding and conferencing facilities.

As with most projects of this type, the contractors have experienced unforeseen hurdles throughout which have led to delays and cost implications.

These include discovery of a medieval cellar, which has now been preserved beneath the new kitchen, and a plunge pool – perhaps one of the most unusual elements of the building discovered so far.

In fact, following the discovery of several Roman artefacts a year ago, it is now known that the Abbey’s history stretches back up to a century longer than previously thought.

The borough council also elected to commission a higher quality decoration for the stunning South Range rooms, along with heritage-standard finish on floors.

Discussions are still ongoing but the increased costs are expected to fall somewhere between £530,000 and £650,000 above the amount already committed to the project by the council.

Cllr Tim Hadland, council cabinet member for regeneration, enterprise and planning, said: “This stunning asset will become a hive of activity, bringing huge benefits for Northampton.

“It will generate a surplus as one of our county’s most prestigious wedding and conferencing venues, as well as attracting visitors from far and wide, and these funds will further support the operation.

“We have also gone to great pains to ensure that the people of Northampton are still able to enjoy everything they previously had access to – acres of grounds, the beautiful Walled Garden and a charming café – all free of charge.”

Several pieces of additional work have also become necessary which will cost a total of between £125,000 and £150,000. These include increased security via a CCTV system, a water tank to meet stringent fire safety regulations, external lighting and gates.

“Northampton’s economy will benefit from the presence of a world-class attraction, something we have chosen to support up to this point,” added Cllr Hadland.

“Just half a century ago the Abbey was in danger of being torn down but instead we are nearing the completion of a stunning heritage attraction which will be a credit to the town and its residents.”